Disclaimers:

One of the worst parts of being famous in today's world is the constant scrutiny of every detail of your private life by the world at large. This is a major theme of this series of stories. I applaud the responsible reporters who are motivated by a desire to give the public the information it needs to make informed decisions and who avoid intrusive reporting on private lives. I do not intend to include ethical journalists in my portrayal of the damage done by the bottom feeding segment of the media that is less concerned about truth or impact on the subjects of stories than in how many readers/viewers a story will attract.

This story was written strictly for the purpose of entertainment. No attempt has been made to copyright any characters which may not have been originally created by the author, and no profit is made from this work of fiction. Any original characters and the stories themselves are the property of the author.

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So many lies and half truths had been told about Samantha Carter O'Neill Jackson Smith se Teal'c over the years that she had stopped reading anything people said about her or her family. She no longer gave interviews and immediately quit watching if someone else being interviewed started talking about her. After the Stargate became public knowledge, fate picked her to become Cheyenne Mountain's premier celebrity, the Stargate's own combination Jackie-O and Princess Di. The tabloids had feasted for years on her marriages and divorces. Watching her scarcely age because of what was now called the "Gate effect" was a national pastime that made as many people hate her as love her. In recent years the focus had shifted to the exploits of her sons, Johnny O'Neill, Jake Jackson, and Jonas Smith, nicknamed the Golden Brothers because of their blonde hair and the absence of a common last name to describe them.

Given her history of distress with the public's lack of understanding of her and hers, she was a little surprised at herself that she had agreed to her husband's suggestion that they should watch "Live in Your Face." Jake's girl friend had called them on the sly and told them he would be appearing. It had hurt terribly to have Johnny and Jake storm out angrily four months before when Teal'c had patiently made it clear to them that they had to treat her with more respect. Only Jonas, her son by her third, mercifully brief, marriage, still was at peace with his stepfather. But Jonas had been 14 when she married Teal'c, years younger than his half-brothers. He had wanted a dad who was around more than the famous movie star father he saw very infrequently. Her other sons felt like they had more fathers than they needed already. Watching them on television was the only option she had at the moment to see how they were doing.

Sam nestled against Teal'c's solid bulk as he made sure an interview with the coach of his beloved Vols was being recorded properly. Satisfied, he changed the channel showing on the flat panel display covering half of the wall that faced their Malibu home's spectacular view of the Pacific. The consummately obnoxious Kyle Martin, host of "Live in Your Face," filled the screen. People detested the man but somehow that seemed to improve ratings. "Tonight we have a very special guest or guests from 'We Die Free,' the band that has single-handedly restored the popularity of guitar driven hard rock n roll." There was wild cheering in the studio audience.

Sam murmured, "They're mad at you but their band is 'We Die Free.'"

Teal'c said quietly, "They named the band years before when I was still their favorite honorary uncle. Now, they have no choice and it must anger them greatly a hundred times a day."

Sam started to argue but he put a finger to her lips and pointed at the screen.

Martin continued, "There are five members of the band and I'm going to keep you guessing as to who's here tonight while we take a look at the video for their latest Pilgrim Records release, 'No to Love.'"

Martin faded out and the video began with a tight shot on a young man with long blonde hair and a small goatee playing a mournful guitar riff. Sam gripped Teal's hand tighter as she recognized Johnny, the band's lead guitarist. The video unfolded telling a story about a man, portrayed by Jake, and a woman, played by Jake's young actress girl friend, and their passionate and ultimately tragic love. The camera cut in tight on Johnny while he played an exquisitely masterful solo, his eyes shut, totally lost in his music. The song was truly memorable. The Golden Brothers may have used their parents' names and notoriety to get noticed but the raw talent between the three of them made their fame completely deserved. When the video ended, the audience again cheered wildly and Martin looked faintly annoyed at how long it took to quiet them enough so he could introduce his guests. Finally, he said, with a dramatic gesture, "And here they are."

Sam was thrilled to see not only the two sons in the band, but Jonas as well, walk out. So was the audience. Each of the three had a faction chanting his name. The camera panned the audience. If she read lips correctly, Jonas was the name on the younger people's lips while the late teens and adults were divided between the older boys and included men as well as women. Jake and Jonas played to the audience while Johnny smiled slightly and kept his face partially obscured behind all that hair. Jake even went out into the crowd and kissed a couple of women.

When they were all seated, Martin said, "All this blond hair and not a bottle of peroxide in sight. Beauticians of America eat your heart out." Jonas and Jake laughed and Jake threw in a wink while Johnny continued to keep his own counsel. "I'm sure I don't have to introduce Jake Jackson and Johnny O'Neill of "We Die Free" and their kid brother, Jonas Smith, start of the top rated WB television series, 'Rascals.'" More wild cheering made it hard for him to go on. This was definitely wearing on Martin. "So tell me, so much fame so young. Are you afraid it will end badly?"

Johnny didn't look up and Jonas looked at Jake. "Do you mean are we likely to get all drugged out, aspirate our own vomit, and die?" he asked pleasantly. Without waiting for anything from Martin, he answered his own question, "I might. Outside odds on Jonas but not Johnny." He looked fondly at his older half-brother. "He's the most grounded of the three of us." Sam murmured to Teal'c, "Or maybe the one with his feelings the farthest underground." Teal'c patted her hand.

Jonas spoke up then, "Hey, man, speak for yourself. If I have to die tragically young, it won't be something so yucky as choking on my own vomit."

Johnny laughed but still didn't say anything. Martin asked, "You're brothers but other the blonde hair, you don't seem anything alike. How do you explain that?"

Jonas said, "Hello. Different fathers you know."

Jake punched his brother in the arm and said, "That doesn't completely get it for Johnny and me." He turned back towards Martin and said, "Mainly for the two of us, it's trying to be anything BUT like our fathers."

Martin now zeroed in on Johnny, evidently deciding it was time to make him talk. "So Johnny, you're the oldest. How come you let Jake usurp your leadership position?"

The camera wasn't on Jake at that point but Sam knew exactly how that comment would have hit him. Jake worshipped his older brother and no one ever took pot shots at Johnny around him. And in any case, Sam knew the statement was blatantly untrue. Jake was the public spokesman because Johnny didn't want to be. At times, Sam had wished there was some way to get Jake away from Johnny so he could have a chance to really think for himself and make his own decisions. She had high hopes for the tentative moves Jake was making into acting, a place Johnny didn't want to follow. Her attention wandered from the show as she fretted that there was still time for Johnny to quash the acting initiative, as he had done with other efforts at independence in the past.
Jake's reply drew her attention back to the TV. "Kyle, I do believe you are confusing form with substance here," Jake said. Then, as if realizing that the slightly literary tone of the answer was at odds with his carefully cultivated image of being loveable but not too bright, he added, "I'm loud enough for both of us. He can, like, save his energy for the songs he writes."

Martin decided to pursue a different avenue, "What's it like having an alien for a stepdad?"

This was designed to put the two older boys in an awkward place. It was no secret that they were estranged from Teal'c but they refused to talk about it with the press and were very loyal to their mother even though they weren't talking to her either at the moment. Again his brothers deferred to Jake who said, "Is he an alien? I didn't notice. How can you tell?"

Jake then decided to take control of a deteriorating situation. "Actually, Kyle, the only reason we agreed to come on the show, other than because we love our loyal fans and we always like to see them," he punctuated his words with a big grin at the studio audience who responded with screaming, "Was that you agreed to let us shamelessly plug our new projects." He stood up and approached the edge of the stage, "What do you say guys? You want to hear what's going on?"

More wild cheering. Sam wondered if her boys could possibly not have had huge hearing loss from going through life with all this yelling. Her fame had been slightly different than that, generally more dignified with smaller crowds. "Okay!" Jake shouted enthusiastically and jumped up in the air.

When he sat down, Kyle said with very bad grace, "I had heard that the only thing bigger than your ego was the line of women who've been through your bedroom door but I'm definitely going with the ego. So, go ahead and fill us in." Sam bit her lip when Jake just let the bedroom comment go by. He was perfectly happy to allow his unfounded image as a sex-crazed rocker continue to grow. It seemed to be the in-thing at the moment for every aspiring actress and model, to whom he as much said hello, to claim they had slept with him.

Jake nodded at Jonas who said, "Jake and I are both in a movie that's set to start shooting next month, 'The Troubles.' It's about the 20s in Ireland. Jake and I both have strong supporting roles." He hesitated for a moment and Sam knew he was thinking that if he didn't bring up his father's part in this, Kyle would. "My dad was in it originally. It's a smaller part than he usually does but he really wanted to work with that director and me. He had to pull out but the producer asked me to stay with the project and decided to change the use of the character with a younger actor. Jake's doing my dad's role." Sam knew that it had cut Jonas deeply to find out that he wouldn't be able to share the shooting experience with his dad. But he still had Jake. Before Teal'c, Jake and Johnny had functioned as Jonas' father most of the time.

Jake now continued. "Johnny has a solo project, classical guitar music, that's going to be released next month, 'Gringo Ballads.' Johnny's the one with the real musical talent. I'm just passing through."

Kyle nodded, looked at the camera and said, with a certain amount of relief, "We're out of time. So thanks to my guests," he added with a lot of sarcasm, "the Golden Boys as well as Huff n'Puff and Bankok Hilton who were with us earlier in the program. Remember; take care of yourself because no one else will."

Teal'c clicked off the television then and looked down at Sam who had tears glistening in her eyes. "Jake and Johnny will come around, Samantha."

She patted his knee, tilted her head back, and kissed him. "Even if they don't, I would never give you up. You and Jonas are the constants in my life, the only ones who have never left me."

Sam watched the "Live in Your Face" appearance way too many times. She would swear to herself that she'd seen it enough and then get up the middle of the night to watch it again. Teal'c hadn't said anything but that was how he tended to deal with things he didn't approve of but wasn't ready to confront her on. He pretended he didn't know about them.

Jonas had been with his brothers and, briefly, with his father, the first time he had visited Brad in two years. It was true that since he had become a hot acting property, he did run into Brad occasionally at A-list events. Tonight he was back home, asleep upstairs, and she was much more at peace. Still she had awakened, in the pitch black, and here she was in front of the screen, huddled in a ratty afghan that had been a wedding present from an elderly aunt, long dead, for a marriage equally long dead.

She heard some footsteps in the hallway, a thud and a muffled curse. Moments later, Jonas made his appearance, rubbing his shin. "Mom, what are you doing?" he asked, still trying to wake up. He sat down next to her and recognized then what she was watching. "Mom, I talked to them about how this stupid this was. Them not talking to you and Teal'c. I think they want to make it up and they're too embarrassed to make the first move." He picked up a couch cushion and started picking at the fringe. "Well, I've done something that I hope won't make you too mad. I was going to tell you about it in the morning."

Sam was completely puzzled. "What, honey?"

"I called last night and told Johnny and Jake that you asked me to ask them to come over for dinner Saturday. I said that you were sorry that things had gotten so out of hand." He looked at her from under his long hair. "I know it was a lie but someone had to do something."

"Maybe it will work, Jonas. You have so much caring in you. In many ways, you are the emotional center of this family, whether you realize it or not."

Jonas looked unhappy. "Mom, you shouldn't say stuff like that. Jake and Johnny think I'm the favorite and it makes problems sometimes."

Sam felt like he'd slapped her but realized she was overreacting. She managed to say, lightly, "You're the baby, that's all. So, how was the visit with Brad?"

Jonas was really giving the pillow fringe a workout. "That's something else I want to talk with you about. You've never criticized my dad. I found out from Johnny a couple of years ago about why you divorced him, what he saw, but you never said anything. Was there anything else that happened that you're protecting me against?" A piece of fringe came out in his hand and Sam took the pillow and the fringe from him gently.

"Like what, Jonas?" She wondered if Jonas could have guessed that Brad hit her, more than once.

"Well, was there any, like um, abuse?" He wasn't looking at her now and her heart sank.

"Jonas, why this question? Did something happen to you at your dad's? Did he hurt you?" She put her hand under his chin and raised his face to look into hers.

"He didn't do anything to me, Mom," Jonas immediately reassured her. "It's just he left his computer on, mine wasn't handy, and I wanted to quick check something on the net. I wish to God I hadn't gotten curious and checked to see what sites he had bookmarked in his browser. There's some pretty disturbing stuff on the net, even with the recent legislation."

"No, Jonas, there wasn't any abuse," Sam said, believing, feeling almost completely sure, that all she was lying about was the few blows she had taken.

"I love you so much," She added and stretched out her hand and drew him to her side. There was no one around to see her hug him and cuddle him against her like a baby and so he let her get away with it. Sam felt her nearly grown son's body in her arms and could not regret the suffering his father had caused her when it had given her this precious boy.

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Shortly after the divorce from Daniel, Sam had been approached about acting as the technical adviser for a file with the working title, "Gate." She needed the money and was tired of all the aggravations of fame without any of the perks so she said yes. The other part of the story was that she needed something to take her mind off what she had lost. In the night, lying alone, staring at the ceiling for hours because she hardly slept anymore, she couldn't get Daniel out of her mind. She went over every memory she had of him, starting with her first meeting with him on Abydos. The last time she had seen him, he warned her that it would be harder for her to get over him than she thought. One morning with the first streaks of dawn coming in the window, she finally admitted to herself that she loved him body and soul, not just as a friend. He was in her system all right and there wasn't anything she could do about it.

When she wasn't thinking about Daniel, she would find herself remembering Jack. She'd think about lying in his arms watching the sun rise and how he kept her laughing with his dry, deadpan wit. He had to be one of the sexiest men she had ever met. He had remarried Sara and it made her really mad that he was happy. "At least Daniel had the good grace," she thought, "to be somewhere just as alone and unhappy as I am." It made her even angrier with herself that she begrudged Jack and Daniel happiness.

She couldn't seem to stop herself from being petty over details of visitation with Jack and Daniel. Thinking about it now, her cheek resting on Jonas' heavy mane of hair, she beat herself up for the way, over the years, the older boys had come down to thinking they had to make a choice between parents. Their fathers weren't there. It looked to them like Jack and Daniel hadn't done a thing to prevent the misery that Brad Smith had caused or on all the other occasions when things had gone wrong. It was uncomfortable blaming their mother, with whom they lived, so they built a case against their fathers. Jonas never had his father as a choice which made it both harder and easier for him.

Sometimes back then, she had felt like someone else was in control of her body. If it hadn't been for her sons, she might have quit fighting it and just let it take her.

The movie that promised her some distraction and cash flow was just part of the great merchandising of the Stargate that America's first woman president had launched shortly after election. Male chauvinists joked that we needed a woman in office to get our first national garage sale. It didn't really take much of a sales push to sell Stargate merchandise. The public was fascinated. Jack and Daniel had immediately become the boys' names of choice and variations of Teal'c, usually without the apostrophe began to appear. Samantha dominated for girls, so much so that Sam became permanently identified as a girl's name. Nicknaming your son Sam was almost akin to the situation Johnny Cash sang about in "A Boy Named Sue."

The first five action figures were for Sam, Daniel, Jack, Teal'c, and George Hammond. None of the subjects authorized themselves being immortalized in plastic but government lawyers said that Jack, Sam, and General Hammond gave up this right when they became soldiers and that there was a clause in Daniel and Teal'c's contracts that left them without grounds for objection. Daniel would have sued if he hadn't sequestered himself on Lisseth by then. The others didn't want to make an issue of it. The Teal'c figure had a little pouch in its stomach with a miniature Goa'uld and carried a staff weapon. The Daniel figure was distinguished by glasses and a tiny book in his backpack. Sam was taken aback by how voluptuous her doll was, exceeding her own proportions noticeably. It was just one of the ways that it would be apparent during her marriage to Brad Smith that they were not communicating. His take on the doll was to be that it would be a really good idea if she got breast implants so that she did look like her statue.

The movie with which she was to assist would largely be shot in Tunisia but Sam was invited to Burbank to participate in preproduction discussions and to review the script. The producer was helpful about providing a nanny for the boys that he was able to persuade Sam could be trusted. Sam discovered immediately that they didn't so much want the movie to be the truth, as to capture the "essence of the truth." She dutifully brought up inaccuracies and most of them were politely received and immediately disregarded.

The producer decided she needed a little loosening up and sent her to some parties stuffed with beautiful men and women, even better looking food, and alcohol flowing like a river. Sam had never given too much thought to her appearance but, given the attention she had received from men like Daniel and Jack, she had always been confident that she was reasonably good looking. In Hollywood, she lost her confidence in rooms with the best looking 1/1000th of a percent of all the women on the face of the earth, all perfectly made up, coifed and gowned. The women were often incredibly catty to each other but most of them were quite nice to her. She interpreted this as not being seen as a threat.

One night, she was more or less hiding in a corner, nursing a glass of white wine and yearning to be back with the SG team that was before fame destroyed it, sitting in Jack's living room, drinking Guinness and laughing, all in peace and charity with each other, and Jack presiding over them all, so damn magnificent. She was thinking so strongly of Daniel and Jack that when a man standing in front of her spoke to her and she looked up, for a moment she thought it WAS Daniel. He even had glasses, a strange sight in a room full of people who only knew contact lenses.

"I'm sorry if I startled you. Would you mind terribly if I joined you?" he asked, presupposing the answer and sitting on the loveseat next to her.

"Of course not," she said, still quite flustered. Taking a hold of herself, she knew immediately that this wasn't Daniel, the open throated silk shirt and the designer slacks shouted that fact without even moving on to all the differences in face and body.

"I'm," she started to introduce herself but he gestured a halt and took her hand in his beautifully manicured, long fingered one.

"You are Samantha Carter. How could I not know? Although I, quite frankly, didn't expect you to be so good looking in person. I thought they probably had used every trick of make up and the right clothes in the book to make you look so stunning. After all you are a Colonel. The real you is a wonderful surprise." He looked at her as if he had just conferred a great honor on her with his compliment.

Sam turned his warm gaze with a slightly befuddled look. To herself she was wondering, "Who is this guy? Is this is idea of a really smooth compliment?" Yet he did look more like Daniel than anyone she had ever met. Finally, she said, "I'm sorry but I'm not sure who you are."

For just a moment, so fleeting she wasn't sure she had seen it, there was ugliness there. Then he laughed, his laugh even reminding her of Daniel. "My ego is more out of control than I realized. I'm Brad Smith. I had a television series for about 6 years, "Hard Case," and since then I've done a few movies."

Sam was intensely grateful that she was able to dreg up a faint memory of the television series and his name did sound vaguely familiar. "I don't know what I was thinking. Naturally I remember you now. I really enjoyed your show." She didn't sound at all convincing but then she was a technical advisor, not an actress. She tried to climb out of the hole with, "I think it's the glasses that threw me off. Most actors don't wear them, do they?"

Brad laughed again and explained, "I've got some sort of an eye infection that means I can't wear my contacts for a few days." When things unraveled later, Sam learned that this was a complete lie. Brad knew well that he looked something like Daniel and was deliberately playing up the resemblance. He had done his research and was reasonably sure from reading between the lines in the few interviews she had granted that, while they might be divorced, Sam might still have feelings for her ex.

Brad stayed by her side for the rest of the evening. He was very charming and drew her out to talk about her children and science. At her very first party she had learned that these two topics, so dear to her heart, were generally not interesting to any of the other guests. It was so relaxing to talk with him about them. Several of his mannerisms reminded her of Daniel. After a couple more glasses of wine, she fell into a pleasant fantasy that he was Daniel.

When it all went sour, she realized that Brad Smith had needed Sam as an ally. Up to that point in his career he had been generally thought to succeed on his good looks and sexiness. His movies had not been top drawer and even those parts were getting scarcer as he got older. It was what Sam did for him that helped him to make the transition to recognition for his acting ability. It was considerable and he used it skillfully to make her think about Daniel when she looked at him.

What Brad Smith knew that night, but Sam didn't, was that the superstar actor currently cast as Daniel, was trying to withdraw from the movie. Brad Smith wanted the part and he wanted Sam to help him get it although he wasn't depending on her alone, or even primarily. Brad Smith was willing to do almost anything for anyone he thought would give him an edge.

Brad continued to pursue Sam and she found it too pleasant to resist. He wasn't Daniel or Jack, but he was there and they weren't. The boys were a harder sell. They didn't dislike him, at least not initially; they just didn't warm to him. He did a masterful job of controlling the ugly temper that she later discovered. At that stage in their relationship, she found herself admiring him for his patience and dogged determination when it was such an uphill struggle with Jake and Johnny.

The original Daniel did drop out and Sam was the deciding factor in the choice of Brad Smith to replace him. When asked for an opinion, she said artlessly, "He's so like Daniel, it won't even take much acting." The casting agent knew Brad from the Hollywood scene, knew that there was little or no probable resemblance but also realized that Brad had already given a powerful audition for the part to Sam if he could convince her to draw such a comparison.

Brad was grateful to Sam and, when Sam thought about it later, her novelty had caught his attention and he had fallen a little in love, to the extent that any intensely narcissistic person could. At the time, though, she believed him when he said he was truly, deeply in love with her. She didn't know what to do with this profession but she wasn't ready to end it.

Sam went to Tunisia with the crew. It was thrilling to be in this isolated place and feel a part of the movie, surrounded by actors she had admired for years. Brad would visit with her on breaks, wearing the SG uniform, and things blurred further for Sam between him and Daniel.

One night the boys were with the nanny and Brad took her for a drive. He borrowed one of the vans used by the production staff and they parked at the top of a hill with a spectacular view. He began kissing her and it felt really good. Then he progressed to touching and it still felt really good. She baulked when he pulled her into the back of the van but he kept kissing her and whispering the things she was starved to hear. Sam was later to mark this as the point when she hit rock bottom. She spent the next six months down there in the muck with Brad.

One morning he found her throwing up in her trailer. "That's the third time this week," he observed handing her a wet washcloth and leaning on the door jamb to watch her put herself back together. "You wouldn't have something you want to tell me?"

Sam studied her face in the mirror and his behind her. She really didn't want to turn and face him. "I don't expect anything from you. This is my problem."

"If this is a baby, it isn't a problem and it isn't just yours." Remembering this scene later, she was never sure whether it was his finest acting job or, if for just a moment, he rose to his better self.

He came forward and wrapped his arms around her. He kissed her neck and whispered. "Marry me, Sam, just as soon as we can arrange it."

The ceremony was on that same hill. Brad was capable of the grand romantic gesture or, maybe more aptly, something that photographed extremely well as a grand romantic gesture. Most of the cast and crew attended and the boys were there, confused at first and eventually bored. The photos were front page across the world. Jack actually had the good grace to send her a note wishing her well and a beautiful piece of Inuit carving that caught up with her a couple of months later. As for Daniel, she doubted that he heard about it until Jake or Johnny told him the next time he saw them. She tried to pump them for what Daniel's reaction had been but the boys had adopted a need to know policy and she never seemed to qualify as needing to know when it came to what they had done with their fathers.

They returned to California and settled into Brad's place in Malibu. Sam was reasonably happy at first, the only initial problem being Johnny. He had never been talkative by nature. He had actually stopped talking altogether for several days after Daniel left her. She had a marvelous child counselor in Colorado and began looking for one in Malibu as Johnny seemed to withdraw into himself again. Jake was the only one he related to well and he didn't seem to want to let the younger boy out of his sight.

She added herself to the list to worry about after Jake interrupted Brad kissing her, preliminary to something more. Brad snarled at him with an expression that Sam had not seen before. She hustled the child out of the room and calmed him down. When she returned to discuss her concerns with Brad, he hit her. He was immediately contrite and she almost believed it hadn't happened. It happened again a few weeks later when she questioned him when he didn't come home or answer his cell until 2:00 AM and she had started to call hospitals. Again, he worked his charm and contrite act but he was less successful at putting her at ease.

Meanwhile Sam, who, after all, was going through her fourth pregnancy, was already as big as she had been at the end of her previous pregnancies. Brad began to make cutting remarks about it. He lost interest in a physical relationship and she was surprised to find that she didn't mind very much.

What she did mind was coming home one day and finding Johnny trying to bandage Jake's knee. There was a huge jagged gash and the emergency room seemed in order but she wanted to get a better look. Jake was crying and Johnny was extremely upset. "He fell off the swing Mommy. There was a rock."

"Sweetheart he is so lucky to have his big brother here." She grabbed a towel, put pressure on the wound, and picked Jake up to take him up to her bedroom where the medicine cabinet was. "Where's Ms. Valenti?" Sam asked as they left the kitchen.

Johnny said, "She's talking to Brad. They get really mad if you 'terupt them."

Sam didn't really think through the implications of that information. Her focus was on her son, now sobbing very quietly against her chest, his little arms around her neck. Johnny pulled on her shirt when she started up the stairs, "Mommy, can't we help Jake downstairs?"

"It won't take all that long to get up to the bedroom, honey," she reassured him, later realizing that she had probably misdiagnosed his reluctance.

She threw open the bedroom door to reveal Brad and the nanny doing far more than talking. The nanny had the good grace to look embarrassed and then immediately concerned for Jake. She was scrambling into her clothes. "We need to get him to the emergency room. I'll drive if you like," she offered.

Brad apparently decided that the best offense was a good offense. "Your kid is going to ruin the carpet. Blood doesn't come out very easily," he said coldly, looking pointedly at the drops sliding down his leg to the white carpet.

Sam finally found her voice to say something so unoriginal but so common to millions of others betrayed by spouses. "How could you?"

"Look at yourself. You're a fat cow. I have my needs. You brought this on yourself," was the answer.

Sam left with the Eva Valenti who almost expiated her sins from Sam's point of view by remaining calm and doing everything needed to get them to the hospital, work their way through the emergency room, and deal with Johnny so that Sam could focus on Jake. The cut was almost to the bone and took several stitches. They went to a hotel and Eva went back to the house and packed bags for them. She reported that Brad was nowhere around.

Sam flew back to Colorado with the boys. Brad was in a difficult position. The real story was extremely ugly and he was advised that if he tried to pin the blame on Sam, unless he was extremely subtle, it would backfire. Instead, he drew on what he knew about events between Sam and Daniel and did what he could to draw the parallels for the public. Sam didn't want her unborn child to ever know just how evil his father was and she consented to a quiet, no-fault divorce but insisted that Brad have no parental rights to the baby. She would be in complete control as to whether he ever saw his child.

The producers were initially very concerned that the end of the marriage was still big news when the movie came out. It turned out that the fact that Sam had, in essence, married and lost Daniel a second time, absolutely fascinated people and brought a whole group of people to the primarily action flick that would not normally have been interested.

As Sam neared the end of her pregnancy she had a very hard time sleeping. In those sleepless hours in the dark she took a good hard look at herself. Somewhere she had gotten very lost. As an adult, she had found identity as a military officer, a scientist, a mother, and a wife. Being a mother and a wife were life affirming but they defined her in terms of relationships with other people. Many women, her mother among them, were wired up to find full satisfaction in the jobs of wife and mother. She envied them, but that wasn't her. When she thought about it, being an officer and a scientist were about her, her capabilities. She was an average mother and a failure as a wife but she had been exceptional as an officer and world class as a scientist. Somehow she had let her military career slip away from her and her scientific credentials molder. It had left her vulnerable to others defining her and vulnerable to expecting others to make her happy when that was really up to her and her alone and whatever peace she could make with God. She was responsible for her own happiness and she needed to accept that responsibility and act on it.

Shortly before Jonas was born, Sam sat down and wrote out a plan to get her life back on track. It envisioned how she could would revive her scientific career and reawaken her mind. It would be tough and it might not work but the very act of trying, she somehow knew, would give her back herself. She had two little boys and another one on the way, she told herself, who needed her and she wanted to be strong enough to have something to give them. Written down it looked very daunting. She read through it at least once a day for months and couldn't seem to actually take the first step.

One evening, she opened the door to find Teal'c. She hugged him as tightly and drew him into the house and into her warm, country kitchen. He was so quiet. Teal'c had never been talkative but this was a deeper silence. This was a man who had run out of things to say. She put a hot drink in front of him, not so much because she thought he wanted it, but because the gesture spoke of comfort and welcome. Then she waited him out.

"My wife is dead," he said at last, looking at the floor.

"I'm so sorry," she said, taking one of his hands between hers. "It isn't enough but believe that it stands for so much more that I can't put into words."

They sat a little longer and then she said, "You seem to have lost your way."

He looked directly at her then, struck by her insight. "Yes SamanthaCarter, I have lost my way."

"So have I," Sam said. "If you could use a friend on the journey, maybe we can help each other." In her autobiography, she credited the pact she made with Teal'c as that night the first true step back to herself.

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Sam brought a cook in for the Saturday night reunion with Jake and Johnny. She had some money and she might as well use it to come up with a meal that people would actually be happy with. She nearly drove the woman crazy, changing her mind about the menu and ended up with two entrees just to make sure everyone got their favorites. Then she second-guessed herself and became concerned that she would look like she was trying too hard. When she went into the kitchen to change the order once again, the cook lost her temper and unleashed a blistering torrent of some Balkan language on her head. Sam retreated and decided to live with the menu as was.

She went into Teal'c's den and began to fret again. Teal'c was watching a UT game from the previous season and making notes on arcane details of the Vol's performance. By definition, she didn't have his full attention. His fascination with Big Orange football mystified his entire family, bereft of a single connection to the state of Tennessee, and, she was pretty sure, mystified him, but he couldn't seem to help himself. At least he hadn't started wearing orange UT paraphernalia in public. The boys were already teasing him about it unmercifully. Bright orange clothing would only add fuel to the fire.

It didn't much matter that he was answering her on automatic pilot since his only real purpose was to keep her from fretting out loud in an empty room which would have confirmed the cook's impression that she was nuts. He suddenly came fully to attention when the front door opened. Teal'c folded her in his arms and said, "It will all right Samantha. I will stay up here for a bit. We can do this in little bites." She kissed him and went out, not, she hoped, to do battle.

Sam ran lightly down the stairs and was stunned to be presented with a huge bouquet of lilies, her favorites. She honestly hadn't thought they knew. They really didn't, she realized, when she caught Jonas' happy smile out of the corner of her eye. She was reasonably sure he had been the inspiration.

They moved into the living room and had been there for several minutes, everyone acting as if there had never been an estrangement, before Teal'c appeared. Conversation stopped cold. Jonas stepped between his brothers and put a hand on each of their shoulders. Jake and Johnny looked at each other briefly and then Johnny took a few steps closer to Teal'c. Outside the family, it was Jake who was the spokesman but within, it was Johnny, the true leader, who represented himself and Jake. Johnny said, "Hey, Teal'c. How about them Vols?" without a hint of his trademark sarcasm and Sam knew that they would be okay.